I wasn’t looking for reasons to start homesteading when we gave up our ideal residence on a quaint little cul-de-sac, four years ago, and set off for the country. In fact, I really only wanted to be able to walk outside in my pajamas and not have to worry about being seen by the neighbors.
I had big goals.
When I got pregnant shortly after moving in, my only desire for cultivating the land was to clear some space for a pool and a deck.
You have a mid-summer baby? You understand.
Homesteading wasn’t even on my radar.
Then 2020 happened.
And homesteading was on everyone’s radar.
I won’t bore you with the webster definition of what a homesteader is, you can just google that. I will, instead, tell you what I’ve come to discover a homesteader truly is:
A modern day homesteader is someone who opts out of easy, quick, and cost-free and instead decides to live life with intention and purpose, following the rhythms of nature.
We live in a microwave culture. But we do best in an environment that’s more like baking fresh sourdough bread in an oven which is only heated by stoking a fire.
I don’t have an oven like that. But I know someone who is seriously considering investing in one, so I’m basically Amish.
My point is, to homestead is to slow down and make space for life to unfold instead of always hustling to make things happen at the speed of light. It’s taking responsibility for the food you eat, the land you have, and the time you’ve been given.
Almost all of my reasons to start homesteading revolve around the central theme of less going with the flow of our current culture and more living within the rhythms of nature.
The short answer is, yes.
The slightly longer answer is, yes but it requires serious planning, sacrificing, and hard work.
Always hard work.
Our family homestead’s central theme is goats. Our first big investment was in a “milking quad” of four bottle babies. We purchased two females, and two males, who all come from solid milking lines and will grow to breed and create our own line of milkers.
We’re still waiting for those babies to grow, four months in. So we’ve invested in their initial purchase, in their pasture fencing, shelter, and food, and we have yet to see any ROI. It will take years of kidding, selling baby goats, learning how to make goat milk products to sell, and finding customers to purchase milk, before we could net any sort of profit.
We did not get into homesteading to net a profit.
Instead, we were determined to change up our lifestyle, start eating foods and drinking milk that we knew exactly where it came from, and provide the brunt of our family’s nutritional needs.
Plus, baby goats are cute.
The biggest benefit I have thus far experienced has, far and away, been watching my children grow up on a small farm. My two and four year old, not to mention my ten year old who was an active participant, watched our first goat birth- up close and personal!
My kids know that work comes before play because we handle barn chores before we do anything else each morning.
And my toddlers are learning the biblical concept of what a Good Shepherd really is. When we have to stop and talk about why we shouldn’t catch our chickens just to see how high we can throw them and watch them flap frantically back to earth, it’s easier to point out what a good shepherd definitely is not.
It’s all good. They’re fine. The chickens love us.
The truth is, the reasons you should start homesteading begins with your kids. I’m convinced there is no better childhood available.
We went into our homesteading journey with eyes wide closed. Both my husband and I are so far removed from ancestral homesteaders, that we’ve learned everything from scratch.
I mean, my hubby grew up in Orange County, CA, for goodness sakes!
It’s not that you have to know anything about how to homestead, per say, but you ought to know stuff about what it takes to homestead.
There are two disadvantages when it comes to starting a homestead, that I can think of. One, it’s nearly impossible to plan a vacation. Even if you could find someone crazy enough to come care for your 27 chickens, 9 goats, 3 pigs, 2 llamas, cat, and dog, it would cost the price of the vacation itself!
Better to plan on building a life you don’t need a vacation from.
And two, homesteading ruins you for any other way of life.
You’ll get carried away with it. You’ll fall in love with it. You might even become that crazy chicken lady who doesn’t make a fuss about poop on her shoes or hay in her hair… and who would miss her often obnoxious, always adorable barn babies too much to go on a vacation, anyways.
At the end of the day, I wouldn’t choose any other way of life.